Denial (Singularity’s Children #1), door Toby Weston

Denial, disruption, conflict and reimagination are change’s four phases, according to a book Anosh takes from his office after being layed off for a technicality. The economy is breaking down fast and unemployment is measured in tens of percents. How will Anosh and Ay┼če care for their family?

Naito is a son rebelling to his rich and powerful family because he doesn’t agree with the way they use people, animals and the world as a whole. As a boy he befriends Blue the dolphin, who, using advanced brain scanning technology, can talk to him.

Daughter of a drug addicted mother, Stella tries to survive in a world too hard and dangerous for children.

A coroporate minion against his will, Keith has strong moral objections agains his company’s exploitation of the world and people but he feels powerless to change anything.

Denial is the first in a series of four and follows a handful of people trying to cope in a crumbling society. Chaos and lawlessness for the poor, uncurbed riches and luxury for the 1%.

The internet has become an inpenetrable forest of commerce, patchy and expensive beyond the reach of mere mortals. A new internet named Mesh is evolving. Mesh is a connected network run by people instead of companies. It is slow but at least it’s usable and you’re not traced by anyone.

These and other next logical steps of the current state of technology and economy make Denial into a dystopian technothriller. Altough the story takes place in a slightly alternate world the simularities are very clear.

Following protagonists over a longer period of time we get to know them fairly well. Counting slightly less than 200 pages Denial doesn’t leave a lot of room for character development but Weston seems to be finding an agreeable balance between character, action, world building and atmosphere.

I would have liked to see more story development but perhaps that’s waiting in the next books.

Personally I’m not keen on dystopias (because they’re usually no more than a vehicle for writing fantasy with some high tech in a current setting) but Weston is detailing the decay’s process quite thoroughly which makes up for a lot. Denial’s scenario is not very far fetched, which causes a moral message to be included: the border between civilization and its decay may be closer than we think.

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